On Saturday, February 25, UFC 144 will be taking place at Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, Japan. The Main Card is full of exciting fights, with the lightweight title on the line in the main event. Some would argue, however, that the co-main event is the most intriguing fight on the card. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Ryan Bader is something that everyone has their eyes on, and for good reason. A legend returns to Japan, entering a risky fight against a young gun with nothing to lose, who doesn’t get into that storyline?
Rampage wanted to fight in Japan. It was the only thing on his mind, no matter the opponent, he wanted to fight for his old fans. After taking his argument to twitter, he got what he wanted. He got the co-main event slot, against a tough opponent, but one who is not ranked quite so high. Fighting Bader is a risk for Rampage; if he loses, it’s a disaster.
In his first fight since his title-shot against Jon Jones, Rampage will look to impress against Bader. It is no surprise that Jackson’s game-plan will be to knock him out. With an advantage in the boxing, “Rampage” will utilize his good take-down defense to keep the fight in his world. Although Jones was successful on a few of his take-downs at UFC 135, Rampage did a great job staying off the mat with possibly the most imposing wrestler in the UFC. After looking better physically than he ever had in his last fight, Rampage looked to Muscle Pharm for training camp to get him battle ready. With killer cardio, good take-down defense, and dynamite in his hands, Rampage will hope to make quick work of Bader to excite his Japanese fans.
Walking into the Octagon with the momentum of a first round knockout over Jason Brilz, Bader will try to roll that momentum into a big win on Saturday. Bader, a championship wrestler, will look to punish Jackson on the ground. A division I All-American, Bader’s wrestling credentials are off the charts; but he is no slouch on the feet either. He has big power in his right hand and usually does a good job placing it on the head of his opponents. With solid striking, Bader should use combinations to experiment with the stand-up to set-up take-downs.
With Rampage’s take-down defense, this fight could turn into a battle on the feet. Even with heavy hands, Bader is the underdog. With Rampage’s durable chin, he is not likely to get knocked out. I am going to go with the Veteran in this war.
My official prediction is Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson by TKO in the second round.